« PreviousContinue »
Next him went Griefe and Fury, matcht yfere;
Griefe all in sable sorrowfully clad,
Downe hanging his dull head with heavy chere, Yet inly being more then seeming sad : A paire of Pincers in his hand he had, With which he pinched people to the hart, That from thenceforth a wretched life they ladd, In wilfull languor and consuming smart, Dying each day with inward wounds of dolours dart. But Fury was full ill appareiled
In rags, that naked nigh she did appeare,
With ghastly looks and dreadfull drerihed;
And from her backe her garments she did teare,
And from her head ofte rente her snarled heare:
In her right hand a firebrand shee did tosse
About her head, still roming here and there;
As a dismayed Deare in chace embost,
Forgetfull of his safety, hath his right way lost
After them went Displeasure and Pleasaunce,
He looking lompish and full sullein sad,
And hanging downe his heavy countenaunce;
She chearfull, fresh, and full of joyaunce glad,
As if no sorrow she ne felt ne dread;
That evill matched paire they seemd to bee:
An angry Waspe th' one in a viall had,
Th' other in hers an hony-lady Bee.
Thus marched these six couples forth in faire degree.
After all these there marcht a most faire Dame, 19 Led of two grysie Villeins, th' one Despight,
The other cleped Cruelty by name:
She, dolefull Lady, like a dreary Spright Cald by strong charmes out of eternall night, Had Deathes owne ymage figurd in her face, Full of sad signes, fearfull to living sight; Yet in that horror shewd a seemely grace, And with her feeble feete did move a comely pace.
Her brest all naked, as nett yvory
Without adorne of gold or silver bright,
Wherewith the Craftesman wonts it beautify,
Of her dew honour was despoyled quight;
And a wide wound therein (O ruefull sight!)
Entrenched deep with knyfe accursed keene,
Yet freshly bleeding forth her fainting spright,
(The worke of cruell hand) was to be seene,
That dyde in sanguine red her skin all snowy cleene.
At that wide orifice her trembling hart
Was drawne forth, and in silver basin layd,
Quite through transfixed with a deadly dart,
And in her blood yet steeming fresh embayd:
And those two villeins, which her steps upstayd,
When her weake feete could scarcely her sustaine,
And fading vitall powres gan to fade,
Her forward still with torture did constraine,
And evermore encreased her consuming paine.
Next after her, the winged God him selfe
Came riding on a Lion ravenous,
Taught to obay the menage of that Elfe
That man and beast with powre imperious
Subdeweth to his kingdome tyrannous.
His blindfold eies he bad a while unbinde,
That his proud spoile of that same dolorous
Faire Dame he might behold in perfect kinde;
Which seene, he much rejoyced in his cruell minde.
Of which ful prowd, him selfe up rearing hye 23
He looked round about with sterne disdayne,
And did survay his goodly company;
And marshalling the evill ordered trayne,
With that the darts which his right hand did straine
Full dreadfully he shooke, that all did quake,
And clapt on hye his coulourd winges twaine,
That all his many it affraide did make :
Tho, blinding him againe, his way he forth did take.
Behinde him was Reproch, Repentaunce, Shame; 24 Reproch the first, Shame next, Repent behinde : Repentaunce feeble, sorrowfull, and lame; Reproch despightful, carelesse, and unkinde; Shame most ill favourd, bestiall, and blinde: Shame lowrd, Repentaunce sighd,Reproch did scould; Reproch sharpe stings, Repentaunce whips entwinde, Shame burning brond-yrons in her hand did hold: All three to each unlike, yet all made in one mould." And after them a rude confused rout
Of persons flockt, whose names is hard to read: Emongst them was sterne Strife, and Anger stout; Unquiet Care, and fond Unthriftyhead;
Lewd Losse of Time, and Sorrow seeming dead; Inconstant Chaunge, and false Disloyalty; Consuming Riotise, and guilty Dread
Of heavenly vengeaunce; faint Infirmity; Vile Poverty; and, lastly, Death with infamy.
There were full many moe like maladies,
Whose names and natures I note readen well; So many moe, as there be phantasies In wavering wemens witt, that none can tell, Or paines in love, or punishments in hell: All which disguized marcht in masking wise About the chamber by the Damozell; And then returned, having marched thrise, Into the inner rowme from whence they first did rise.
So soone as they were in, the dore streightway
Fast locked, driven with that stormy blast
Which first it opened, and bore all away.
Then the brave Maid, which al this while was plast
In secret shade, and saw both first and last,
Issewed forth, and went unto the dore
To enter in, but fownd it locked fast:
In vaine she thought with rigorous uprore
For to efforce, when charmes had closed it afore.
Where force might not availe, there sleights and art 28
She cast to use, both fitt for hard emprize:
For thy from that same rowme not to depart
Till morrow next shee did her selfe avize,
When that same Maske againe should forth arize.
The morrowe next appeard with joyous cheare,
Calling men to their daily exercize:
Then she, as morrow fresh, her selfe did reare
Out of her secret stand that day for to outweare.
All that day she outwore in wandering
And gazing on that Chambers ornament,
Till that againe the second evening
Her covered with her sable vestiment,
Wherewith the worlds faire beautie she hath blent: Then, when the second watch was almost past, That brasen dore flew open, and in went Bold Britomart, as she had late forecast, Nether of ydle showes, nor of false charmes aghast.
So soone as she was entred, rownd about
Shee cast her eies to see what was become
Of all those persons which she saw without:
But lo! they streight were vanisht all and some;
Ne living wight she saw in all that roome,
Save that same woefull Lady, both whose hands
Were bounden fast, that did her ill become,
And her small waste girt rownd with yron bands
Unto a brasen pillour, by the which she stands.
And her before the vile Enchaunter sate,
Figuring straunge characters of his art:
With living blood he those characters wrate,
Dreadfully dropping from her dying hart,
Seeming transfixed with a cruell dart;
And all perforce to make her him to love.
Ah! who can love the worker of her smart?
A thousand charmes he formerly did prove,
Yet thousand charmes could not her stedfast hart
Soon as that virgin knight he saw in place,
His wicked bookes in hast he overthrew,
Not caring his long labours to deface;
And fiercely running to that Lady trew,
A murdrous knife out of his pocket drew,
The which he thought, for villeinous despight,
In her tormented bodie to embrew:
But the stout Damzell, to him leaping light,
His cursed hand withheld, and maistered his might.
From her, to whom his fury first he ment,
The wicked weapon rashly he did wrest,
And turning to the next his fell intent,
Unwares it strooke into her snowie chest,
That litle drops empurpled her faire brest.
Exceeding wroth therewith the virgin grew,
Albe the wound were nothing deepe imprest,
And fiercely forth her mortall blade she drew,
To give him the reward for such vile outrage dew.
So mightily she smote him, that to ground
He fell halfe dead: next stroke him should have
Had not the Lady, which by him stood bound,
Dernly unto her called to abstaine
From doing him to dy: For else her paine
Should be remedilesse; sith none but hee
Which wrought it could the same recure againe.
Therewith she stayd her hand, loth stayd to bee;
For life she him envyde, and long'd revenge to see:
And to him said; "Thou wicked man, whose meed
For so huge mischiefe and vile villany
Is death, or if that ought doe death exceed;
Be sure that nought may save thee from to dy
But if that thou this Dame do presently
Restore unto her health and former state:
This doe, and live, els dye undoubtedly."
He, glad of life, that lookt for death but late, Did yield him selfe right willing to prolong his date